IHC orders transfer of Bushra Bibi from Banigala to Adiala jail

By Muhammad JuniadPublished On 08 May 2024

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) announced on Wednesday ordered the transfer of former prime minister Imran Khan’s spouse, Bushra Bibi, from the Bani Gala sub-jail to the Adiala jail.

IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the reserved verdict on the petition filed by Bushra Bibi seeking her transfer to the Adiala jail — where her husband is currently incarcerated. 

On May 2, the high court had reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments. The superintendent jail had relayed that they could not accommodate Bushra Bibi as the jail was already overcrowded and due to security issues. 

The court also decalred that the notification declaring Bushra Bibi's residence Bani Gala as a sub-jail "null and void".

Bushra was placed under house arrest at her residence in Bani Gala on January 31, following her conviction in the infamous Toshakhana case. The authorities had declared the Bani Gala residence a "sub-jail" to confine the former first lady at the request of Adiala jail superintendent.

On February 6, Bushra had challenged the authorities' move to imprison her at Bani Gala to serve a 14-year sentence in the case.

In the petition, Khan's wife maintained that like other political workers of the party, she was ready and willing to serve her sentence in the “Ordinary Jail Premises at Adiala Jail, rather than the declared sub-jail at her residence”.

Moreover, the former first lady felt "unsafe" being confined alone in the premises of the sub-jail due to the potential security issues.

The wife of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder had said the “special treatment” meted out to her went against the spirit of equality guaranteed under the Constitution and was consequently discriminatory.

In view of the stated reasons, the petitioner had pleaded with the court to set aside the notification to declare her house sub-jail and shift her to Adiala jail in the “interest of justice”.

Bushra, Khan jailed

Bushra and Khan were awarded a 14-year jail term, each, when accountability court's Judge Muhammad Bashir announced the verdict in the case related to the illegal sale of state gifts from Toshakhana.

The court also disqualified the former prime minister for 10 years from holding public office besides imposing a fine of Rs1.57 billion — 787 million each — on the couple.

Khan told the court that his wife had nothing to do with the case and was being humiliated by being forcibly dragged into it.

The case

Under the rules governing Toshakhana — a Persian word meaning "treasure house" — government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.

The Toshakhana has been under a microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million.

The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan's aides sold them in Dubai.

Moreover, seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a "Master Graff limited edition" valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000), were also among the gifts.

A reference was forwarded by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf to the Election Commission asking it to probe the matter.

In October 2022, the electoral body declared the former premier guilty of corrupt practices and filed a complaint in an Islamabad court.